Category Archives: advocacy

Bon anniversaire Surete du Quebec: consistently corrupt for 38-plus years.

Commemorating 38 years of incompetence, amnesia and subterfuge:

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Responding to reports that Quebec police spied on journalists’ emails and phone calls Edward @Snowden simply Tweeted “Oh Canada”, mocking us for our naivety:

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The Globe and Mail’s Les @Perreaux writes,

“If you don”t care about cops spying on reporters you should care that the cops need reporters to do their investigating for them.”

And to that I would add, “and citizens”.

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Meanwhile, the Quebec Union of Professional Journalists @FPJQ is calling for a full public inquiry into the matter. To which I say, get in line.

The FPJQ can have their inquiry AFTER we get our inquiry into the police mishandling of unsolved murders in Quebec, and the destruction of physical evidence (a matter equally systemic across Quebec police forces as the monitoring of media email and telephone calls).

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With all due respect to the journalism profession in Quebec, let’s not lionize the media. Over 38 years I can count on my hands the number of reporters who were dedicated and thorough. Most of the hard investigative work was not done by police, NOT BY JOURNALISTS. It was done by private citizens like myself.

Radio Canada weighed in with the resounding, “Qui Police la police?”:

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Really? You’re just now realizing how this works?

In a presser last night Chief Public Security Bobblehead, Martin Coiteux opened his mouth and offered nothing but his persistent and unconvincing performance that he was just as shocked as all of us.

The Minister is out of step with the people: None of us are shocked. The game is rigged. The fox is guarding the fox-house. 

Emma’s Acres featured in CBC documentary

A shout out to the folks at Emma’s Acres in Mission, BC for their  excellent efforts in restorative justice.

Emma’s Acres is a farm that employs survivors/victims, ex-offenders and offenders.

They produce vegetables, herbs and fruits –  grown naturally without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers – on an 8-acre property in the beautiful Mission Valley in Southern British Columbia, just miles from the Washington border of the United States.

The produce is sold at the Mission City Farmers’ Market, and to local restaurants and stores. They also make donations to local non profits in the District of Mission including the food banks and the community kitchen.

The proceeds fund the work of Long-Term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C. ),  (disclosure:  I serve as Board Vice-Chair for LINC).  

The CBC recently did a brief documentary on Emma’s Acres profiling two of its participants: John, who robbed and murdered a man in Toronto in 1985; and Ray King, whose son was murdered by Clifford Olsen in 1981. The two toil side-by-side working the farm land each day. You can watch the full documentary here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/convicts-victims-work-to-heal-old-wounds-on-b-c-farm-1.3819003

At the heart of LINC / Emma’s Acres are Sherry and Glen Flett. It’s their idea, and they started the venture not long after Glen was paroled in 2006. Glen was an accomplice to the murder of Ted Van Sluytman, 40, at a Hudson’s Bay store after a robbery in Toronto on March 27, 1978. Flett was convicted of second-degree murder and served 20 years in prison. 

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Glen Flett

 

Glen is also featured in the documentary. I have met Glen, and we still correspond occasionally, mainly because we both live and despair each hockey season over the fate of our beloved Habs.

I’m not trying to make light of Glen’s transgression. I do think, however, that Glen made a mistake, served his punishment, and it’s time to forgive. Glen deserves to be humanized, not forever regarded as a criminal.

Emma’s Acres isn’t for everyone. There will always be the sort that will try to game the system. Some offenders cannot be rehabilitated. But for those that are willing to walk the path? Thank God –  and Sherry and Glen – for Emma’s Acres.

I’ve never held vengeance in my heart for offenders. It is one of the reasons I was able to reach out to Luc Gregoire in prison shortly before he died, and no doubt one of the reasons he wrote back to me. I didn’t approach him as a criminal. I simply wanted to know if he murdered my sister. Had he affirmed that, I would have had a second, more important question: Why? What happened to you along the way, and what can we do to ensure that you never do something like that again?  In some cases the answer is, “never let them engage with society again”. But in other cases the response is, “Give them a second chance”.

I do know this. The answer is not the current justice model in the United States: Endless incarceration. Eradication of mental health funding. Treating drug dependency (prescription or other ) as a crime, not an illness. If that is your model, then don’t be surprised that you are shooting innocent people in the streets over a simple stop-and-frisk.

I sometimes joke with Sherry that when I retire, I’m moving to Emma’s Acres. I’m only half joking. It would be very redeeming to work a field through the day’s light, knowing that the ultimate goal was my welfare, my well-being. Maybe some day.

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An inquiry about Melanie Cabay

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Dear Sir:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the unsolved murder of Melanie Cabay.
First, I am aware of all those cases you speak of, and I believe Poirier Enquette is doing stories on both Cabay and  Marie-Ève Larivière. I am happy to help you with anything. I have been asked before to take my research into the 80s and 90s: I haven’t done that because I find the work exhausting / disturbing: I can’t do everything. But I am happy to assist anyone with my ideas.
I will offer a few things:
On the one hand, there are similarities with the cases I researched and the cases you bring up from the 1990s: abductions in cities, with bodies being disposed of on the frontier of cities. Clothing scattered. These may be patterns of a single offender. On the other hand they may also be patterns of simply what offenders do: You don’t “shit where you eat” as they say in english. So you don’t want a body around where you live and play (in this case “play” = stalking and killing women).  The clothing scattered: this may be what all offenders do in a panic: they dump the body: they don’t want anything associated with the body near them, in their car, etc… so they get rid of it quickly: I don’t think in any of these cases we are talking about the rape and murder occurring at the site where they were found: the rape and murder (in the cases where this happened) occurred somewhere else, THEN they dumped the bodies.
So again, could this be the work of one person? Possibly. I am more inclined to think it is maybe 4 or 5 similar offenders, who repeated several crimes, and who copycatted each other (if you observe that a woman in the early seventies gets raped and murdered and the police do nothing about it? maybe this inspires a criminal: maybe they think they can get away with it too. Better still, if they copy it, maybe the other guy will get blamed for it. Understand?) This happened in London, Ontario in the 70s, so it is not unprecedented:  
That the murders in the Montreal / Sherbrooke area stopped around 1981 may be attributed to many things:
1. Offender moves away
2. Offender gets arrested for some other crime, is in prison for an extended period.
But there is another element. Around 1981 the Quebec police stopped being so generous in sharing information. Up until 1981 there was a fairly fluid relationship between the police and the media in Quebec (The offices of Allo Police were across the street from the Surete du Qubec’s Montreal headquarters on Parthenais). The crime scene photographers were quasi-journalist / civilian police staff. As a result, a lot of information about victims and crimes was accessible, and still is accessible. After 1981, the policy with Quebec police must have changed. You can see it in the crime archives at Rouge Media  / Allo Police: the files from the 70s are filled with all kinds of things, from photos to police reports. When you research the the files from the late 80s? All of that is gone. There are only newspaper clippings. There are none, or very little source documents.
What I am suggesting is that maybe there were other murders, we just never heard of them because the Quebec police closed its doors.
So I will get to the question you are ultimately asking: could one serial killer be responsible from the 70s up until now: from Prior to Allore to Cabay to Cedrika Provencher, and all of the others along the way?
Highly improbable when you look at the length of the timeline 40 years? An offender in their 70s today. Improbable, but possible.
More probable? We are talking about several offenders with overlapping timelines. This is just an example: 
  • Offender 1: Prior, Houle, Leakey (75 to 81).  
  • Offender 2: Camirand, Allore, Bazinet – goes to jail then – Cabay? (77 – 94) Maybe.
  • Offender 3: Nicole Gaudreault – moves from Montreal to Sherbrooke, gets a good job, has a stable life, dormant for decades, then a crisis happens, he re-emerges – Cedrika? (79 – 2007) Maybe.
I see no issue with entertaining such possibilities. There are all kinds of examples that can back up such behavior. 
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You asked, how did I access police information. Well, one source I mentioned above, the archives of Allo Police, now located at Section Rouge Media in Longueuil. The other source is the Grand Bibliotheque on de Maisonneuve in Montreal. You can make a records request (give them the victim name, date and location of disappearance, date and location of discovery) if they have it, it will cost you a few dollars for the service.  
I have already put a request in for you for Melanie Cabay. If I receive anything I will pass the information on to you, with my complements. 
Thank you for reaching out to me, and I wish you every success.
Regards,
John Allore
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Francis Laforest: Poirier Enquete: Saison 1 / Épisode 03

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Poirier Enquete va continuer ce soir avec l’histoire de Francis Laforest:

Francis Laforest, copropriétaire du Bistro McTavish à Terrebonne, a 29 ans lorsqu’on l’agresse sur le boulevard Terrebonne. Deux individus cagoulés sortent d’une camionnette, le frappent avec un bâton de baseball, puis le laissent pour mort. Il décède peu après, à l’hôpital. Bien qu’aucun suspect n’ait été arrêté, on soupçonne des motards criminalisés qui voulaient gérer la vente de drogue au McTavish, mais les Laforest résistaient au chantage. Depuis le meurtre, deux des suspects ont disparu.

Le dossier fait partie du portefeuille cold-case de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ a compétence sur Terrebonne – clique ici)

Voici ici pour un extrait (non disponible aux Etats-Unis)

Aggression: Compton, QC – 1977

Gilliard House, Compton. 2016

Gilliard House, Compton. 2016

Une femme qui était un étudiant au collège Champlain (et en résidence à King Hall, Compton) en 1977 m’a contacté ce matin. Pendant l’année scolaire 1977-1978, elle et quelques amis ont été auto-stop retour de Lennoxville à Compton.

J’ai détaillé beaucoup de comptes comme celui-ci. Vous pouvez trouver un affichage sur le sujet ici (cliquez ici).

King's Hall, Compton. 2016

King’s Hall, Compton. 2016

Je reçois beaucoup de courriels comme celui-ci. Mais ils sont rarement ce détail (et effrayant) – et elle-même m’a prévenu des compromis de la mémoire. En outre, il est pas un seul compte, il est trois témoins (oui, je leur nom):

À l’automne ’77 ou Spring ’78 (je sais qu’il n’y avait pas de neige au sol) deux amis et je raté la navette mi après-midi du campus et a commencé à l’auto-stop Kings Hall. Je pense que nous sommes allés chercher juste après la dernière barre à droite à la sortie de Lennoxville. Je ne me rappelle pas le nom de ce bar, qui a été fréquenté par la population locale. Je suis dans le dos et a glissé vers derrière le conducteur, laissant place à un ami à côté de moi, l’autre ami a obtenu à l’avant. La voiture était plus âgé, pas «battre» dans le sens des dommages, ce que nous avons appelé un «tacot». Cela m’a rappelé un vieux taxi avec deux sièges de style banc et avec la suspension en vrac et les manœuvres d’une grosse voiture américaine, plus bateau comme de voiture. Je ne me souviens pas de la couleur de la voiture, mais ce ne fut pas quelque chose de flashy ou hors de l’ordinaire.

De l’arrière, je pensais que le conducteur était “vieux”. Pour 17 ans je devine que cela signifiait plus vieux que mon père qui aurait été 52 à ce moment-là. Mon impression était qu’il était à court et même sur le léger côté. Il nous a conduits une partie du chemin à Compton mais a tourné à gauche sur une route secondaire, va dans le mauvais sens pour nous emmener à Kings Hall. Au départ, nous avons supposé qu’il arrêterait mais il a continué à conduire en dépit de nos protestations. À une courte distance Susan, sur le siège avant, a crié quelque chose, peut-être “arrêter la voiture putain”. En ce moment, le conducteur a ralenti un peu pour traverser ce qui aurait pu une bosse ou voie ferrée? Il n’y avait rien autour, pas de maisons, des voitures ou des personnes. Elle ouvrit la porte de la voiture pendant que nous avançons, à quel point le conducteur a ralenti encore plus et elle a sauté. Cela le surprit assez qu’il a arrêté assez longtemps pour que ceux d’entre nous dans le dos pour brouiller out. Il partit en avant. Nous sommes arrivés à la route principale et je pense que nous étions soit ramassé par la navette de l’école ou peut-être marché le reste du chemin.

En 2012, je revis Kings Hall, a été rappelé l’histoire, et est arrivé de passer un officier de police stationné dans la ville de Compton. En fait, je lui ai dit arrêté pour l’histoire et laissé mon numéro de téléphone au cas où la mort de votre sœur était toujours sous enquête. Je me suis toujours regretté que nous ne disons rien à l’administration scolaire de cet incident. Ma seule excuse était mon jugement catastrophique comme dix-sept ans, plus de peur que mes parents pourraient découvrir que j’avais été l’auto-stop.

Alors, voici ma question: la police de Compton suivi à ce sujet? Signalez-le à HQ? Signalez-le à la Sûreté du Québec? Demandez à quelqu’un dans la communauté si elles se souviennent de quelque chose? Conduire la route (probablement la Rivière Moe – nous avons entendu beaucoup de comptes menant à là) pour voir si elle bocaux des souvenirs? Faire n’importe quoi?

Je pensais que cela irréaliste, pas plus. Il est un de 38 ans à cold-case: il n’y a rien à perdre. Et en outre…

c’est ce que de bons officiers de police font.

Aggression: Compton, QC – 1977

King's Hall, Compton. 2016

King’s Hall, Compton. 2016

A women who was a student at Champlain college (and in residence at King’s Hall, Compton) in 1977 contacted me this morning. During the 1977-78 academic year she and some friends were hitchhiking back from Lennoxville to Compton.

I have detailed a lot of accounts like this. You can find a posting on the subject here (click here).

Gilliard House, Compton. 2016

Gilliard House, Compton. 2016

I receive a lot of emails like this. But rarely are they this detailed (and frightening) – and she herself warned me of the compromises of memory. Also, it’s not a single account, it’s three witnesses (yes, I have their names):

In Fall ’77 or Spring ’78 (I know there was no snow on the ground) two friends and I missed the mid afternoon shuttle from campus and started hitchhiking to King’s Hall. I think we got picked up just past the last bar on the right on the way out of Lennoxville. I can’t recall the name of this bar, which was patronized by locals. I got in the back and slid over to behind the driver, leaving room for one friend beside me, the other friend got in the front. The car was older, not “beat up” in the sense of damage, what we would have called a “clunker”. It reminded me of an old taxi with two bench style seats and with the loose suspension and maneuvering of a large american car, more boat like than car. I cannot recall the colour of the car, but it was not something flashy or out of the ordinary. 

From the back I thought the driver was “old”. To a 17 year old I am guessing this meant older than my father who would have been 52 at that time. My impression was that he was short and even on the slight side. He drove us part way to Compton but then turned left onto a side road, going the wrong way to take us to Kings Hall. Initially we assumed he would stop but he kept driving despite our protestations. Within a short distance Susan, in the front seat, shouted something, maybe “stop the fucking car”. Just then the driver slowed a little to cross what might have been a bump or railroad tracks? There was nothing around, no houses, cars or people. She opened the car door while we were moving, at which point the driver slowed down even more and she jumped out. This startled him enough that he stopped long enough for those of us in the back to scramble out.  He drove off ahead. We got to the main road and I think we were either picked up by the school shuttle or possibly walked the rest of the way.

In 2012 I revisited Kings Hall, was reminded of the story, and happened to pass a police officer parked in the town of Compton. I actually stopped to told her the story and left my phone number in case your sister’s death was still under investigation. I always regretted that we did not say anything to the school administration about this incident. My only excuse was my abysmal judgement as a seventeen year old plus fear that my parents might find out I had been hitchhiking. 

So here’s my question: Compton police follow up on this? Report it to HQ? Report it to the Surete du Quebec? Ask anyone in the community if they remember anything? Drive the road (probably Moe’s River – we’ve heard lots of accounts leading to there) to see if it jars any memories? Do anything?

I used to think this unrealistic, not anymore. It’s a 38 year old cold-case: there is nothing to lose. And besides…

that’s what good police officers do.

 

 

Who watches the watchmen, Mr. Coiteux?

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I noticed the following on Twitter yesterday afternoon:

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Now there’s nothing wrong with Martin Coiteux enjoying the Montreal Grand Prix, I just found it slightly inappropriate that he would be using his public Twitter account to do so:

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Then I was quickly reminded that Mr. Coiteux actually holds two offices in the Liberal cabinet:

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There’s nothing illegal about dual mandates. However there is something that smells entirely inappropriate about the Minister of Municipal Affairs also being the Minister of Public Safety. 

Depending on who you believe, the economic impact of the Montreal Grand Prix is estimated at anywhere between $42M to $89M. With all that cash coming to town, you wouldn’t say, want to admit you might have a problem with prostitution and human trafficking, in fact, to keep everyone happy, you might even wish to turn a blind-eye to the problem, as evidenced by the following in last  week’s Gazette:

The Canadian Grand Prix weekend means big business for Montreal’s sex trade, as partying race fans roar into the city on their annual pilgrimage.

Experts say major international sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, raise the demands for young, female prostitutes.

Montreal’s annual high-octane extravaganza is no exception, but many of the sex workers who are used to fill the commercial void are unwilling participants, human rights activists say.

The article goes on to say that enforcement fn the sex-tourism trade in Canada has been “slack”:

(UBC law professor Benjamin Perrin) also said Canada has lagged when it comes to rounding up sex tourists, who travel abroad abusing children. Perrin said sex tourism drives human trafficking around the world.

Canada, meanwhile, has convicted only one person in the past decade on sex-tourism charges, he said.

“We’ve really fallen behind globally in preventing our child-sex offenders from exploiting children in impoverished countries overseas,” said Perrin, the founder of The Future Group, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ending human trafficking.

The same is true for police forces. A Public Safety Minister who is also a Municipal Affairs Minister wouldn’t want to look to closely at the Montreal police who appear to be spiraling out of control, that could hurt tourism:

Montreal police chief stays coy about probe into ethical breaches

And just think of the negative economic impacts of admitting sexual predators and – here I’ll say it – serial killers have been preying on the province for decades?

You can’t serve two interests, M. Coiteux. It may not be illegal, but it is certainly inappropriate and unethical.

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Qui garde les gardiens, Martin Coiteux?

J’ai remarqué ce qui suit sur Twitter hier après-midi:

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Donc, il n’y a rien mal de Martin Coiteux profiter du Grand Prix de Montréal, je viens de découvrir légèrement inapproprié qu’il utiliserait son compte Twitter public de le faire:

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Ensuite, on m’a rapidement rappelé que M. Coiteux détient effectivement deux bureaux dans le cabinet libéral:

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Il n’y a rien d’illégal à un double mandat. Cependant, il y a quelque chose qui sent tout à fait inapproprié de la ministre des Affaires municipales étant également le ministre de la Sécurité publique.

En fonction de qui vous croyez, l’impact économique du Grand Prix de Montréal est estimé à quelque part entre 42M $ à 89M $. Avec tout ce que l’argent provenant de la ville, vous ne diriez pas, veulent admettre que vous pourriez avoir un problème avec la prostitution et la traite des personnes, en fait, pour garder tout le monde heureux, vous pourriez même avoir envie de tourner un oeil aveugle au problème, comme en témoigne ce qui suit dans la Gazette de la semaine dernière:

Le week-end du Grand Prix signifie la grande entreprise pour le commerce du sexe de Montréal, les amateurs de course de la fête rugissent dans la ville sur leur pèlerinage annuel.

Les experts disent que les grands événements sportifs internationaux, tels que la Coupe du Monde et les Jeux Olympiques, élever les exigences pour les jeunes, les femmes prostituées.

extravaganza-haut indice d’octane annuel de Montréal ne fait pas exception, mais la plupart des travailleurs du sexe qui sont utilisés pour combler le vide commercial sont des participants involontaires, disent les militants des droits de l’homme.

L’article poursuit en disant que l’application fn le commerce du tourisme sexuel au Canada a été «slack»:

( professeur de droit de UBC Benjamin Perrin) a également dit que le Canada a pris du retard en ce qui concerne l’arrondissement des touristes sexuels, qui Voyage à l’étranger qui abusent des enfants. Perrin a déclaré le tourisme sexuel entraîne la traite des personnes dans le monde entier.

Canada, quant à lui, a condamné une seule personne dans la dernière décennie sur les frais du tourisme sexuel, dit-il.

«Nous avons vraiment pris du retard au niveau mondial dans la prévention de nos agresseurs sexuels d’enfants de l’exploitation des enfants dans les pays pauvres à l’étranger», a déclaré Perrin, le fondateur de The Future Group, une organisation non gouvernementale qui se consacre à mettre fin à la traite des personnes.

La même chose est vraie pour les forces de police. Un ministre de la Sécurité publique qui est également ministre des Affaires municipales ne voudrait pas se tourner vers de près la police de Montréal qui semblent échapper à tout contrôle, cela pourrait nuire au tourisme:

Chef de la police de Montréal reste discret sur la sonde en manquement à l’éthique

Et il suffit de penser aux impacts économiques négatifs d’admettre les prédateurs sexuels et – ici, je vais le dire – les tueurs en série ont été en prennent sur la province depuis des décennies?

Vous ne pouvez servir deux intérêts, M. Coiteux. Il ne peut pas être illégal, mais il est certainement inappropriée et contraire à l’éthique.

Stuart Peacock: an update

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The Surete du Quebec called me on friday. Here are a few updates that they gave me:

  • Although over the last 16 years the Surete du Quebec has given me several assurances that I was granted access to EVERYTHING in my sister’s cold-case file, it now turns out that this is not true. There exists a final report from detective Roch Gaudreault, but because of “issues of confidentiality” I am not allowed to see it. The SQ assured me that I could always make an access-to-information request to try and obtain the file.
  • Exhuming the body: I again asked the SQ if they had any interest in exhuming the body to see if there were any physical DNA evidence on Theresa from the perpetrator.  The SQ is still taking this under consideration.

Finally, I thought I should mention that the second episode of Poirier Enquete is now streaming on the Historia website. It covers the murder of Jolene Riendeau (click here).

The program is not available for viewing in the United States.

Seven Plays: Number One

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I am waiting for some decisions. It will take about two more weeks. While we wait, I thought I might blend some of my personal life a bit. 

In the last 5 years I have consciously attempted to make this website about facts, not feelings. This not some personal exploration, it’s about crime details that need scrutiny. Saying that, I am sharing this because 1. I have a little time to open up.  2. What I am about to share is not unrelated to the overall picture. So…

There’s been this thing going around social media: name seven theatrical plays you were in, then share with others… You know, a social media thing.
Well I’ve been tagged in this meme, and I’ve avoided it. I thought it stupid, a forum for self-promotion. I really don’t see a reason to reflect on recent theatre memories.

( Let me stop here and say, I am an actor. I have always been an actor. Whenever I am not advocating for victims rights, working, spending time with my kids… I AM USUALLY IN A PLAY.) 

But… So…  going further back? That’s interesting. Memory and nostalgia are the back-bone of social media. And if I can use that forum to tell a story? Ok, I’m in.  If you listen closely you will see why this is relevant to this website.  

So here is my 7 part theatre-story, taken out of chronological order. 
———

Episode 1

There was this kid. His name was Michael Merrick…

I’m already getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. I was fresh out of acting school in NYC. I needed an acting gig. I auditioned for The Alley Theatre, and was hired as an acting intern.

So I moved to Houston, Texas. As an intern you were expected to shut-up and understudy. I got lucky. The opening show was As You Like It, and I understudied Jaques / John Franklin-Feltch. More lucky: I got assigned the hunter speech, you know… we are introduced to Arden and some unknown comes on stage a laments the killing of a stag, and how Jaques wept at the site of it. This part is usually cut. Miraculously, Greg Boyd kept it, and I got to be front and center (Greg’s first big mistake).

But there was this kid. His name was Michael Merrick. He was a little younger than me, and had just graduated from the theater program at the University of Houston…

So the photo? That’s me on the left, and Gage Tarrant on the right. As interns we were fifth business. When not doing a Stag Speech, we were eye-candy, filling in at the sidelines and providing moves and percussion.

After the Stag Speech I became arrogant. I won’t go into details, who cares. Let’s just say that I believed my worth to the Alley was greater than the Alley’s worth to me.

So they did what any business would do in that position. They stopped using me.

So there was this kid…

I saw Michael Merrick in an Alley production of One Flew Over The Cucloo’s Nest. He had a NOTHING role. He was one of the orderlies. He was the most captivating thing in the show. I could not take my eyes off him.

My first response was panic and threat. I didn’t know what to do. This guy – a townie – was seriously encroaching on my plans.

Then it got worse.

By some chance we met up in a bar in Houston. I found him charming, genuine and wickedly funny. I remember we shared a love for The Dukes of Stratosphere, the XTC 60s parody band that threw mimicry on its ear into music method-acting. How could I hate an enemy that I so deeply admired?

I moved from Houston to Toronto. The reasons were varied, but mostly, I was never gonna shine in a world where John Franklin-Feltch existed: we were too physically similar, and he was too talented.

Later, I moved to LA.

I saw Michael Merrick for the last time at an audition in West Hollywood. I tried to recapture the Houston magic, but he seemed distant.

Soon after, Michael Merrick died of a heroin overdose.

This is for those who don’t get a chance to shine in the 15-minute social media light. This is for the forgotten, but never forgotten by me. This is for the deeply gifted that inspired me, and not because I might later need a favor.

This is for Gage, who only today I learned was a close friend to Michael, and considered him like a little brother.

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